In the mood for a scary movie marathon to end Halloween in grand style? Our Halftime writers team has got you covered with the worst films to watch in this ~spooky~ night.
Nicole: Hereditary (2018)
Let me start off by saying that Hereditary is not a “terrible” movie. It’s actually pretty damn great. It received 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and has even been hailed as this generation’s The Exorcist (1973). It’s produced by A24, and we all know how much I love A24. But, I hated Hereditary because, after I watched it, I couldn’t sleep for a week. At the very heart of it, Hereditary is a film about family drama and grief, and, at the end of the day, the stakes we put on our relationships with our loved ones—whether it be our fear of losing them or our fear of loving them—can end up being the most terrifying fear of all. I loathed Hereditary from the moment I saw the couple in front of me leave the cinema during the late-night screening. I continued to despise it when they chose to use bone-chilling images that linger in the back of scenes, rather than cheap jump-scares that you can laugh at loudly with your friends. Hereditary absolutely SUCKED because even when the characters emerged from the horror of the night into the day—into territories we deem as safe, like school or the drive outside your home—the terror never stopped. I hate Hereditary because I saw it four months ago, and I still need to run into bed after I turn the lights off.
Brynn: Tales of Halloween (2015)
Full disclosure: Tales of Halloween is not a full movie but rather a collection of 10 horror short films with different plots that cover everything from monsters to murder. Even though it is not a full feature film, I think it’s worth writing about it after having fallen into its trap last weekend while scrolling through Netflix. After every single short, my roommates and I promised that we were going to turn it off or that it was going to be the last one, but each one was so messed up or confusing that we needed a minute to just sit there and say, “What the hell?” Yet, within less than 30 seconds, the next film would start playing, peaking curiosity, and making it impossible to turn off. Like many low budget Halloween movies, the films attempt to make the viewers skin crawl with blood, gore, and sex, all of which are communicated through unrealistic plots and terrible acting. It’s hard to even figure out who the target audience is. It’s slightly more mature than Goosebumps, but lacks any kind of real sophistication, making it a good pick for high school seniors looking for a bad scary movie night. Overall, Tales of Halloween excels in creativity, but the shorts lack the time to fully flesh out far-fetched plotlines, which makes the final product confusing and generally pretty disturbing.
Panna: Apostle (2018)
Apostle has a painfully predictable plot with an overcomplicated world that lacks proper development to actually make sense. The writers clearly couldn’t decide if they wanted to remake Little Shop of Horrors (1986) or The Village (2004). The only positive comments I can make are about the solid cinematography and the uncommon use of an unlikable protagonist. The dense fantasy world does not align well with the simplistic plot, which only serves to lead to the next brutal killing and has no actual significance.
Dajour: Wish Upon (2017)
Alright, so look: in 2017, I was convinced that I had seen the worst horror movie of all time when I watched The Bye Bye Man (which definitely wins the award for dumbest movie title ever). That movie was all kinds of horrible (and no one should ever watch it), but, in a stunning move, Hollywood managed to put out an even worse “horror” movie just a few short months later. I put horror in quotes because this movie isn’t even remotely scary. Wish Upon follows a teenager named Clare (Joey King) who receives a magic wish-fulfilling box that kills someone every time she makes a wish—and, boy, is it a disaster. Joey King seems to be making quite the name for herself by acting in the worst movies: The Kissing Booth (2018), Slenderman (2018), and this miserable excuse for a film—all in just two years! Let’s start by the fact that every wish she makes is the most trivial, pettiest crap. She wishes a boy would fall madly in love with her, she wishes her father would be a “cool dad,” she wishes to be popular. Mind you, she makes the last two wishes knowing that someone will die if she makes them. All of the death scenes attempt to be really brutal and Final Destination-like, but fail tremendously and just end up looking goofy. It has the most predictable twist at the end and also has the nerve to try and set up a sequel. This movie is the worst thing I’ve ever seen and I recommend it to everyone. No, seriously. Unlike The Bye Bye Man, everyone needs to watch this movie and laugh until they cry at its stupidity. This is the perfect “so bad that it’s good” movie and I wholeheartedly wish it made billions so that it could’ve had the sequel it so rightfully deserved.
Sam: The Shining (1980)
I feel the need to preface this by saying that I didn’t hate The Shining: it is a decent movie and I can see why some people enjoy it. However, watching it for the first time at eighteen-years-old, I was not very impressed. This movie is extremely hyped up, and, in my opinion, it does not live up to those expectations. The first half drags on and fails to properly establish any sort of backstory. The most entertaining part is the dramatic conclusion, but, by the time you reach that part, you’re checking your watch waiting for it to be over. The movie hints at a complicated plot that transcends the boundaries of time, yet never explains anything. If you’re going to include these plot threads, you need to give them a sense of conclusion otherwise they feel like wasted time and confuse the viewer. One of my biggest problems with The Shining was that it was too ridiculous to be scary. As I already mentioned, the plot was poorly developed. Therefore the underwhelming horror elements really doomed the movie for me. Great scary movies have plot and horror, or at least one if not the other. The Shining tried to have both and fell short on both accounts. I found Danny (Danny Lloyd) and Tony (Danny Lloyd) more weird than creepy, and, honestly, I would have preferred more focus on Danny and his ability because I feel it was an underexplored plot line. Then we have the side character Halloran (Scatman Crothers) who initially provides some explanation on the gift of “the shining” and sets up the mystery surrounding room 237. However, introducing him later in the story seems like a lazy way to give Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and Danny an escape while providing a moment of horror. The mental break down of John (Jack Nicholson) is predictable, which in and of itself is not a problem, but by dragging out this mental decline you lose the audience’s attention. Despite my problems with the plot, the characters themselves were perhaps my favorite part of the movie, and the actors, particularly Jack Nicholson, gave convincing performances. Overall The Shining is not a terrible horror movie. However, I found it too long considering the lack of story and more weird than scary, therefore I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to.